TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Credit card swipe fees can be charged in Pa.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

By The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 4:36 p.m.
 

Stores can now ask consumers using credit cards to pay a surcharge or “swipe fee,” as a result of a proposed legal settlement.

Experts suggest that small retailers are the most likely to pass along the fees they're charged by Visa and MasterCard.

Any merchant who does is required, under the agreement, to inform shoppers as they enter a store and as they pay, with any such fees noted on receipts.

Debit cards would not be affected.

Ten states — including New York, Florida, Texas and California — forbid such surcharges, but they're legal in Pennsylvania, according to reports.

Wal-Mart, Target, Macy's and Sears will not be adding fees, and other major retailers are likely to also refrain, to remain competitive, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Those chains are also big enough to negotiate reduced fees with charge-card companies.

The Kroger grocery-store chain said last year it might consider surcharges, but recently told Bloomberg only that it's working on using incentives to get customers to use less-costly ways to pay.

The right to levy these checkout surcharges comes from a class-action suit in which retailers, including Kroger's and Safeway, alleged that banks and credit card companies conspired to keep fees high. The tentative settlement was reached in July, but the right to pass along fees didn't take effect until Sunday.

The fee, which could be a percentage of the purchase cost, cannot exceed the fee owed by the retailer to the credit card company.

How American Express and Discover figure into the picture is unclear. One report said that stores accepting American Express would be unable to charge checkout fees for any card, because American Express forbids them.

But the Consumerist, a nonprofit subsidiary of Consumer Reports, has said the door would be open for surcharges on American Express and Discover purchases as well.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Emergency room visits decline as navigators steer patients to proper medical care
  2. MSA Safety products in demand to protect workers in dangerous jobs
  3. U.S. Steel warns it may lay off almost 2,000 workers in Alabama, Texas
  4. Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
  5. Drops in gasoline prices won’t likely last, analysts say
  6. Beaver County power plant cleaning up spill into creek
  7. Drillers bid millions for oil, gas beneath West Virginia public lands
  8. Milk industry swats back at ‘anti-dairy’ trend
  9. Chevron laying off 162 workers from Moon-based unit
  10. $300K in wine bottles stolen from Napa Valley restaurant found in North Carolina cellar
  11. Reliable alternative to water could ease economic, environmental issues for gas drillers